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Travel Tips

Cape Winelands

Visitors to the Cape Winelands might be forgiven for thinking they have just been magically transported to some secret valley in Provence or the Swiss Alps: soaring mountains, dusted with snow in winter, provide the backdrop for European-inspired vineyards and farm houses, orchards and meadows.

There are various wine-growing areas in and around Cape Town but the Cape Winelands region, situated an hour or so out of Cape Town and comprising the towns of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, is the most famous, arguably the most scenic and offers an atmosphere that is undeniably a gastronomic one with South Africa's best food and wine on offer at every twist and turn of the meandering roads.

Stellenbosch is the grandest of the 3 towns and is regarded as the capital of the Cape Winelands with its baronial manor houses and many historic National Monuments. Paarl and Franschhoek are smaller and more intimate with the latter widely seen as the culinary capital of Africa.

And don't be put off by its mountainous location: the Cape Winelands is also a region of flat fertile valleys and good infrastructure that is simple to explore. And as you might expect, along with South Africa's best restaurants is some of the country's most elegant and exclusive accommodation - after all, who wouldn't want to wake up in a luxuriously appointed suite next to a vineyard?

Getting around and discovering the delights of the Cape Winelands is also hassle-free: many visitors do it under their own steam and hire a car while others prefer the ease of a guided tour, ensuring that you can sample all the wines you like.